Mentoring of first-year teachers: A case study

Emily Folger Simpson, Fordham University


This study was designed to provide a rich description of mentoring in New York State. The data presented provide insight into the mentoring programs from the viewpoints of administrators, mentor teachers, and interns (first-year teachers). This research focuses on four major questions: (1) Who originated the grant applications? (2) What were the motivations of administrators, principals, and teachers for participating in mentor intern programs? (3) What role changes did participants experience in mentor intern programs? (4) How did the mentoring program contribute to school improvement? To answer those questions, 12 districts which had active or inactive mentor intern programs were visited. Key participants were interviewed by this researcher. Documents such as original requests for proposals and training programs were studied. Teachers involved, both mentors and interns (first-year teachers), were administered a job satisfaction questionnaire. The findings indicated that the major reason for originating mentor intern proposals was dissatisfaction with traditional supervisory observations in developing the potential of first-year teachers. There was some indication that first-year teachers are not presently adequately prepared. Motivation for mentors was related to mid-career development. After spending an average of 15 years in the classroom, experienced teachers expressed a need to develop adult professional relationships and also to improve the teaching profession. Many expressed a strong need for status and recognition through monetary compensation. Principals have recently written their own building level grants and participated actively in mentor selection committees. Significant role changes have been instituted for principals, supervisors, and mentors. These changes foster collegiality, cooperative decision making, and shared supervision through the mentoring program. Student achievement through mentoring is related to efficiency of the replacement teacher for mentors and interns. School improvement has been positively correlated with student achievement and teacher satisfaction. Mentoring contributes to teacher satisfaction in that professional learning extends beyond formal schooling for teachers of all levels of experience. Administrators, teachers, and students can all belong to an active community of learners.

Subject Area

School administration|Teacher education|Adult education|Continuing education

Recommended Citation

Simpson, Emily Folger, "Mentoring of first-year teachers: A case study" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9109272.